Sorami Sun tells everyone that the plant has red leaves, purple berry clusters, with a pretty flower that should not be sniffed, as it is poisonous and has a barb in the center than stabs outward in protection. The drop off into the room is around 30 feet. The river may contain something within it, though there is no certainty, and the water itself is probably 20’ at the deepest and 7 yards wide. Leaving Alex and the Pilgrim above on over-watch, the others rappel down to the floor. There is a waterfall coming from the ceiling and there is a good chance the group will need to explore behind it as well. Lavinia chooses to divide them up into two groups to search the banks for the flower and possible fording areas. Downstream toward the Bend: Sorami Sun, Alain, Corbin, Max Foss, Seath; Upstream toward the Waterfall: Lavinia, Graeme, Catherine.
The Downstream crew all have seen this strange movement across the river, though no one gets a good look at it. They also find a obelisk fallen across the river, and as they near it they get a true sense of the size of the chamber, large enough to hold a dreadnought. Corbin notices something hanging over the chamber, a possible human-like face that is covered in vines. The prospect of finding Annuki ruins makes Corbin careless as he begins to cross the river via the obelisk to get to the ruins. Max notices the Engineer wandering off and calls to him, asking him to stay nearby not to go off on their own.
The Upstream crew do not get the same intriguing sights. Catherine is quite impressively nimble and Graeme is in full chameleon suit, skulking about. Lavinia sees in the pool of the falls a pale, naked woman bathing in the pool. When she pulls Catherine aside and asks if she sees that and gets, “See what?” Graeme wishes he could see naked women and informs Lavinia that the voice that says bad stuff is happening is going off in his head. When Catherine sees non existent snow, everyone becomes uneasy. Psychic forces? Graeme sees a “symbiot” across the river and starts to shoot and track the imaginary foe. Lavinia has a small talk with Catherine about shock collars and contacts Alex for any info he may have on her husband’s whereabouts. No Graeme, but eventually he contacts his wife, “I found a pit.” Though he avoided the pit there was another trap. Lavinia and Catherine make their way across the river, behind the falls, to get to him.
Since the Downstream crew is still on task and without threat so far, they continue on across the river. Max and Corbin find an area walled off with an entrance on one side, also around the piled wall structure look to be headstones. On some of them is carved a jumpgate cross. Sister Sorami is too busy looking at the Annuki face, so that Max has to spin her toward the headstones to show her the crosses. When asked, Sorami tells them that they should continue to look for the plant and then rejoin the rest by the waterfall. Amongst the gravestones are brilliant green flowers on vines. Max accidentally steps on the vine and is shocked violently, collapsing. Sorami attempts to go get him and falls twitching as well. Seath radios Lavinia and reports the incidents. She tells him to pull them out and stay put til she gets there.
Lavinia turns to see a decomposing Vorox beckoning to her and chooses to discharge a round out of her shotgun. It disappears. Damn it! Back down the river, Seath attempts to bring the two twitchers from the area. When he removes them from the taser vines, they stop convulsing and are fine, mostly. When they look closer to the headstones there are human names and words inscibed in Latin, though the dates cause some wonder, in the 3850s. Sorami makes notes of the names, as Seath pulls out the vines to show the electricity arcing from them. When they enter the stone building, there is no roof but there is a floor. On the stones themselves are painted murals, though they have flaked off. Corbin sees a high-tech chrome backpack. Foss pries at a loose flagstone and finds a weapons case. Inside is a rough-looking energy rifle. Corbin is almost certain he has found a hover-pack. Foss uses the Falcotta(?) to sear away some of the shocker vines, dimming those nearby.
Lavinia easily scales a nearby object easily, and almost to the face of an Annuki, a handhold feels like a sword-hilt. There is a sword stuck fast into the rock. Max and Alex can see her from afar, and Alex switches completely over to visual optics with magnification. He sees what may match the description of the plant they are looking for. He begins to direct her up and to the right fifteen feet. Hot damn, it may be the plant! She calls down to Sorami what to do, only to get knowledge that what is needed is with the Sister. She secures herself to the face and begins to dig around with a knife to get at its roots as well. Lavinia secures it in her pocket and goes back to the hilt and begins to pull it out. It looks to be made of the same type of crystal as the guide’s. It is well balanced, sharp, and glows faintly. The whole structure begins to move and everyone hears the rumble through the chamber.
Those watching from afar see the Annuki statue open its eyes, as Catherine and Alain fall to the ground bleeding out of their noses. Lavinia climbs down fast and jumps the last 10 feet to get away. When a psychic wave washes over the rest, Max finds himself in a different place. He is standing outside in a foyer near a Ball, music playing. He is wearing the finest clothes and is introduced to the crowd as General Max Foss, Lord of… He comes out and back to the animated statue chamber. Lavinia takes off fast, “Graeme if you want to live you better scream!” He begins to mutter about seeing out sons. Cursing aloud, she moves to Catherine, injects her with Elixir and swings her over a shoulder. Lavinia even sees the naked woman as she runs toward her best guess direction for Graeme.
Everyone farther away see this Sphinx-like statue yawns. Sorami kneels down to Alain to Lay on Hands to heal her. The Sphinx stretches and snaps vines, as it opens its mouth a brilliant beam shoots forth and melts the ceiling. Another psychic wave engulfs the party, overwhelming most. Alex shifts to a villa overlooking lands, feeling peaceful watching people working in the yard below him. It is the most content he has ever felt. Max recognizes the surroundings of his shift. He sees Colonel Newman going into the back of a brothel on Tethys. He meets an Al-Malik there and hits a few buttons on his ear and pulls off his face to reveal another Al-Malik. He shows him a file with Lady Catherine on it and says she will die an agonizing death thanks to his contacts in the Engineers.
Lavinia does finally find Graeme. He is currently fighting with hatchet and knife against a tree, large barbs sticking out of his leg. She wakes him from his nightmare and pulls him away, showing him the statue burning the ceiling. They begin to run back to Alex. Sorami glances around and sees Seath fighting an imaginary being and Alain is still unconscious. He insists to the Sister that he is training young Nicholas, Lord Maxwell’s son, to fight. She coaxs him out of the vision and they all lead Max out toward the exit of the chamber.
Alex looks at the Sphinx through the sensors and though its physical face is looking at the ceiling, he is seeing it staring at him. Suddenly he is chasing a woman with auburn hair down a darkened street, “I am coming to catch you, you can’t run that fast.” She smiles and taunts him, that he is not as smart as her as she darts between two buildings. This dress cords get snagged as he comes out of the vision. Corbin slips into a sight of a burned out city, surrounded by dozens of suits of powered armor. Someone holds up a tablet and shows that their forces are pushing back the Church. Lavinia finally slips into a vision. She and Graeme have been stalking a stag for days, in a snowy forest that feels of home, and the weight of the world is no longer on her shoulders. They take the shot and the stag falls, and she silently thanks the stag for its sacrifice. She slowly comes to with Graeme gently slapping her face. Sorami begins to see her ancestors back and back until she comes to a couple on a ship, the woman much the same as the Sister and the other is a warrior, Almathea and Manteus.
Everyone has gotten themselves as far away as they can, back to where Alex is an anchor. The statue is surgically carving from the ceiling, steam issuing from its heat. Both groups set down their semi-conscious psychics, and Lavinia watches as the same phantasm, the naked human-like woman, steps from the ice. Everyone sees the same. Lavinia is a bit disgruntled, “You have followed me this far, what do you need?” Apparently she has been woken from a great dream, her time has come to heal and teach. She affirms that the woman is also the Sphinx and that the sword kept her from waking. She wishes to give them all a gift and then steps back into the ice. Lavinia holds out the plant to Sorami, and Catherine points over to where the Sphinx uprooted itself. There is more of the plant. Sorami rushes over and gathers it the way it is needed to be stored to stay alive.
As everyone makes their way out of the ice caves, Max makes certain no one gets left behind. Rocks and ice are tumbling from the ceiling from the rumblings of the Sphinx. Foss looks back to see Catherine clutching her middle and beneath a cracking ice ceiling. He moves to pull her out of the way. He pulls her away and covers her with his body as the ice bounces off his energy shield. She comments that the damn visions have shown her what it feels like to be nine months pregnant and scamps on. Finally everyone makes it to the entry lines that have dropped down. Everyone is out of the ice caves and move to the awaiting shuttle…